What is a Multicultural Organization
A multicultural organization features a workforce that includes people from diverse backgrounds integrated across all levels of the company. Employees in a multicultural organization contribute their unique perspectives based on their various ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds and other unique characteristics to the benefit of their organization. A multicultural organization also displays an absence of discrimination and prejudice, with skill, talent and aptitude being the primary criteria for climbing the corporate ladder.
Breaking Down Multicultural Organization
The benefits of a multicultural organization are many; they include a higher level of innovation, greater success in marketing to minorities and export markets, and better distribution of opportunity. In addition, creating a workforce that not only includes people from diverse racial, religious and gender backgrounds, but also features minorities that are well represented and integrated across all levels of the company, can lend a broader perspective that may help in identifying and exploiting new markets and customers, and the creation of new products and services. Multicultural organizations, by design, can help avoid the phenomenon of "group think," as they tend to feature a variety of perspectives. These benefits generally outweigh the negative factors such as a higher degree of cultural conflict and the potential for fear and resentment among some employees, which could lead to higher employee turnover rates.
Multicultural Organization Trends
The trend to attempting to create more diverse workplaces is consistent with demographic changes in more economically developed western countries. In the United States, the population has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past two decades. As such, the goal of employers is to create a workforce that resembles the demographic makeup of the overall population, as well as match the characteristics of a more diverse customer base. As part of this, hiring managers may have to both identify and remedy instances of discrimination and cultural bias in hiring practices.
Multicultural Organization Methods
Multicultural organizations demand that upper management and human resources personnel spend more time considering how best to foster, manage and motivate a far more diverse workforce. This is especially true of employers that are starting from scratch; creating an environment that favors a multicultural organization takes considerable effort. Key to such an effort is stating (and restating) the organization's common goals. With such well-defined objectives to rally around, cultural perspective may be channeled into a valuable and useful diversity of opinions. Generally, the creation of a multicultural organization starts at the top and requires the clear communication of objectives, training and continuous monitoring. Managers should also recognize that when differences arise, they may individual in nature and not have anything to do with culture, background or any other characteristic.